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txbikergirl Posted - Jan 01 2016 : 3:53:17 PM
so in true "new year" fashion we are looking at our 2016 goals. one of those goals might be adding a beef cow/calf or two. this isn't a primary goal for 2016, one of those we are looking into and if it works out then it could happen, and if things don't align then it could wait.

one thought we did have is that when sally gives birth we'll move her into the barn corrals with the new calf, because before then we'll have the new pasture shelter/feed bunker up... which means that elsa could be in the pasture all by herself for a bit. so if it worked out it might be nice to have another cow/calf to keep her company before May 1st.

so a few questions:
- what do y'all do as far as bringing new livestock home? do you quarantine them for a bit? if so how long? and if you only have two pastures side by side, is separating cattle with only a few acres between them even worthy of a quarantine?
- if you found good livestock, it had all vaccines and was supposed to be topnotch would you even chance it knowing you had a pregnant cow at home currently? wouldn't want to endanger that...
- how long would you want the new momma and her calf separated from everyone before mixing them up? we will have two hard fenced pastures, and can break those up with electric fencing, so worst case scenario we will have a whole pasture for momma/baby that any other cows can't break into.

also, our new cow shelter/feed bunker will actually span the two pastures - with the fence/gate running down the middle. so we can literally use one structure to shelter/feed the cows in both pastures without them mixing it up. but they will only be separated by the fence/gate.

give me any thoughts y'all might have. we aren't in a rush, but in true cindy fashion i have to start planning this out. and we don't want elsa lonely when baby arrives May 9th so thought we might need to find her a friend that could later be dinner.
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CloversMum Posted - Jan 04 2016 : 7:53:13 PM
We raised five steer two years ago and they were most definitely my hubby's project ... he enjoyed it and those black angus even knew my hubby's truck as he drove up the driveway. They would come up to my hubby as he fed them, but that was it as far as any training went. I think he would like to have a couple more beef cows, but we don't necessarily need them now. The steers also had to have electric fence and it only took them about ten minutes to realize when there was a power outage. I like that in a family, each person can have their "specialty" or favorite kind of farm critter. It makes it all work together and our family work together ... a kind of ecosystem! :-)
farmlife Posted - Jan 04 2016 : 7:20:17 PM
Cindy, I like the idea of the beef cows being Patrick's project because your expectations will be that they are like dogs only bigger. Beef cows are not like dairy cows. Part of that is in the amount of handling and the way that they are handled. We have three beef cows currently. (Two Red Angus and one Black Angus) The Red Angus were bottle calves in the spring of 2014. They were raised with just enough human handling to take the fear away, but we didn't halter train them or work with them daily when we turned them out into the pasture. As a result they will occasionally try to tackle the person who is bringing them hay.

Our Red Angus heifer has no respect for fences at all. That's why we now have electric fence. Our steer is very handy to have around to let us know when the ladies are in heat. Definitely consider a steer calf if you will be AIing in the future. However, when it comes to comparing Elli and the beef cows, it is night and day. (No wonder I would like another milk cow.) My vote is to have 2 milk cows, and feed up a few beef bottle calves here and there. Then sell them or feed one up for eating, and of course always have a steer. Then I wouldn't have to deal with big beef cows too much.
maryjane Posted - Jan 04 2016 : 2:41:56 PM
Sounds like a good plan to me, Cindy. Let me just say, you really can't overthink any of this. If that's the case, then I'm as guilty as you are. I think about this stuff all the time.
CloversMum Posted - Jan 03 2016 : 5:12:32 PM
I like your "overthinking" Cindy as it helps all of us. Keep it up!
txbikergirl Posted - Jan 03 2016 : 4:05:27 PM
for now just calves to raise to slaughter. although i'll take care of them, the beef cows will be lover boy's project. he's always wanted murray grey beef, so i figure the cheapest way to try it out is to get a few calves and go from there. eventually he'll want a momma to breed via AI, but that is way too far ahead for us right now. maybe just one calf for now to see how he likes that breed and the beef.

so mary jane, it sounds like if i have my second pasture ready then i can just put elsa on one side of the pasture and sally/baby on the other - they'll both have separated access to the shelter/feed bunk but be nose to nose at the fence so won't be isolated. sound good to you? that's after 24-48 hours in the barn for post birthing. then once baby is a bit older i can just put elsa in with them and let them have a jolly old time in one pasture, and then will start moving baby around as we need to start separation.

thanks for your input/experience. i know i am overthinking all of this.
CloversMum Posted - Jan 03 2016 : 3:28:33 PM
Yes, what was it about today? Humble was running all over, kicking up his heels quite literally and so were my goats! The sun wasn't out, it is still chilly, but maybe slightly warmer?
maryjane Posted - Jan 03 2016 : 3:07:08 PM
I've been watching Ester Lily, Sweet William, and Finnegan run and run and run. It must be how the stars are aligned today. Even the girls are out and about, well, everyone but Fanci. Beyond adorable!!!!! And yes, a precious bovine moment.
CloversMum Posted - Jan 03 2016 : 2:59:20 PM
Watching all of our animals is therapeutic for me ... This fall I enjoyed watching the antics of my ducks and their routine which they most definitely had.

And just today during our Sunday dinner, we were watching Humble gallop around his pasture! The kids were watching and giggling while I was trying to listen to hubby's parents talk. :-) Then I realized what the kids were giggling about and I started watching too! Every few minutes, Humble would race up or down the pasture.
maryjane Posted - Jan 03 2016 : 06:47:13 AM
Regarding the addition of beef calves, are you thinking a pair so you can start raising beef or are you thinking two calves that you raise to slaughter?
maryjane Posted - Jan 03 2016 : 06:44:05 AM
Cindy, Sally hit 283 days (maybe 284 once) all three pregnancies so what I do is start locking a soon-to-be cow up at night two weeks prior and then given Sally's history, I'd start night watch maybe 4-5 days ahead of her due date. (Watch for how swollen her udder, teats, and vulva get as an indication of how close she is.)

Once a cow calves, I keep her in for 24 hours to ensure a full belly of colostrum and to monitor the discharge/removal of her afterbirth. After that, momma and calf want to be out and about. With Tony's birth, Sally didn't want to go back in the area where everyone else was for a couple of weeks or more (I'd have to check my calendar for the exact length of time) so I kept her in a separate pasture w/shelter and walked her down to milk every morning and she was okay leaving Tony, but with Elsa she wanted to get back with everyone else as soon as possible and so did Elsa. Mix and mingle is fine if that's what they want and then I always shut new momma and calf up at night for a month or so. But the new babies love to run and leap within a couple of days. Sometimes it triggers more play in the older cows. It's one of the happiest sights ever. Those of us who've done it a few times have this bit of advice. Don't plan on getting anything else done. You'll love to sit and watch all of it. Baby calves are poetry in motion.
CloversMum Posted - Jan 02 2016 : 1:53:36 PM
Betsy talked to Clover right over the fence ... nose to nose, even still sharing kisses. So I can't really say that they were completely separated! Humble even went back and forth through the fence the first little bit before we added a lower electrical wire and turned on the fence. It was as though both Betsy and Clover shared Humble. We were worried the first time we saw Humble over with Betsy but she was so gentle with him and then he would scurry over to his mama.

Humble was born end of August and Mr. Tony arrived the first of October and Betsy went to keep him company just a few days later (everyone had already had all their shots/vet exams/etc).
txbikergirl Posted - Jan 02 2016 : 12:38:44 PM
thanks charlene. so you can tell me, when you separated clover and betsy for clover to give birth was betsy lonely again? and how long before you let them be together again? i seem to remember you brought the man home to keep betsy company fairly soon thereafter ;>
CloversMum Posted - Jan 02 2016 : 10:15:04 AM
Forgot to say, I love all your planning ahead, Cindy!
CloversMum Posted - Jan 02 2016 : 10:14:19 AM
When we brought Betsy home, we kept her in her own pen where she could see Clover and Clover her. But they could not touch. We had the vet come out, examine Betsy, give her the vaccines that we wanted and then wanted to hear the results from the blood work. We did not expect any issues AT ALL, but wanted everything to be documented. And we were playing it safe since Clover was already pregnant. Then we allowed the cows to get to know each other over the fence line for just a short time before allowing Betsy into Clover's pasture. They seemed to bond right away.

They still have a close bond and are a lovely pair! I absolutely love seeing them together in the pasture. When Clover calved, she brought Humble over to the fence so Betsy could check him out. Betsy licked Humble and gave her approval. It was one of those special cow moments. I know those two will be cowpanions for life.

If everything goes well and Ethan is able to get the cow that he is considering, we'll do the same thing ... keep her isolated until the vet comes and we get the clear. With my goats, I always keep any new ones isolated for three to four weeks as any acute illness would probably manifest itself within that timeframe.

So, yes, we've "chanced it" mixing in new cows with pregnant ones ... but we knew Ron! And his good quality care given to Harriet and Betsy. This new cow will have had two exams from two different vets ... one where she is now and one when she gets to our place. She won't have any contact with Clover or Betsy until we make sure all is good.

We let Betsy in with Clover and Humble; however, Betsy decided she wanted to take up nursing again so they were separated again. But they visit over the fence and can see each other. I think you would just have to watch each situation to know whether or not you could put the new momma with her calf in with the other cows.

Others will probably have better ideas! And most definitely more experience.